Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meet your mind. P1 The cell!

Your brain is a collection of around one or two billion, actual " brain cells". Understanding one cell can help us untangle the web of the mind that somehow results from brain cells firing and working in unison, this is the basics of how your body makes you and somehow conjures up a subjective consciousness. It is Only when you have billions of these neurons working as functional groups (brain parts) in a brain conglomerate, that we can see why we are a way for nature to see itself - and see why we are a way for you to see yourself as separate from say a chair or object too. 

Each cell is powered by glucose, the brain devours glucose and oxygen as food. Fully powered a cell grows enormous numbers of tentacle like dendrites, between 1 and 10 thousand such connections PER NEURON! These dendritic feelers literally reach for nearby cells to communicate with, billions of cells connected with trillions of synapses or "contacts" - dendrites appear as branching brachiating vines in a forest of neurons, a very large web of brain. A brain with astonishingly intricate functions such as subjective thought. The cells and their job in the brain is the actual structural and functional matrix that gives rise to the mysterious mind of 'man. 

 Each cell has thousands of these dendritic connections. Which are actual physical gaps in the brain. Each intersection or synapse exchanges chemical or electrical signals. The prefrontal cortex and serotonin are an example of where and how two cells may 'talk'. Many aspects of higher mental sentience, like creativity, are linked to the G-proteins where brain neurotransmitters exchange information. when a Gprotein coupled receptor reads serotonin the protein changes, the Gproteins shape and enzyme release protocol are changed by Gprotein receptor contact with serotonin (or any drug that fits the serotonin receptor).  This is how drugs and neurochemicals alter the mind. By using a neurotransmitter molecule to decide how the Gprotein "unwinds" when attached to the receptor site in turn will effect how you behave, which in turn effects other cells and effectively consciousness. Serotonin and Gprotein coupled receptors seem to be necessary but not sufficient for consciousness. 

One cell is easier to map than billions though, and easier to explain, but it is the complexity that makes your brain so hard to understand and so interesting. You have thousands of these dendritic roads per neuron. This means that if we counted them all, hypothetically, you should have some hundred trillion synapses or dendritic gaps for the brains chemistry to magically conjure up you or precisely your minds subjective experience. Lets see how it does this. As the mind is almost certainly not a magic act after much of it is understood. 

Thanks Brady. 

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